WorkBC is making sure that local entrepreneurs have the best chance of making their businesses successful.
The Self Employment (SE) program is a long standing service that WorkBC provides for people looking to carve their own path in the business world. Through the program, entrepreneurs will access financial and educational resources to help get their venture up and running.
“They may not know how to market online, how to do their books, or they may not know how to advertise and we are here to help them with those things.”
“Basically, people come through us, we refer them, and then they work with our business analysts at Community Futures Thompson Country,” said Deborah Petrovitch, program operations manager at WorkBC.
She explained that Community Futures Thompson Country has the contract for WorkBC Merritt’s SE program. She also mentions that even though they have no relation to the program, Community Futures Nicola Valley help SE clients as well.
“Applicants can just visit us in our office and speak to a case manager. We would determine their eligibility and explore their business ideas with them to see if it makes sense then go from there.”
Through the program, clients will have access to the following services and resources:
free business planning
four weeks of online workshops and resources to build a business plan
weekly Q&A group meetings
business guest speakers
worksheets, resources, and assistance to start a legitimate business
free on-going entrepreneurial workshops
free private Facebook group
free monthly peer to peer groups
free one on one business coaching
$638 per week up to 48 weeks
“Sometimes people come in and they’ve got a concept that’s very solid and they could just apply to the program, start their business planning, and attend all of their workshops,” said Petrovitch.
“Sometimes people come in with just a concept that doesn’t quite connect with the labour market or the community that they’re in, or they may not understand the prerequisites that could hold them back. We do concept development with these applicants so we can tweak their concept so we could find a business that we know would really work well in Merritt.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Petrovich said WorkBC Merritt has, on average, served 15 SE clients per year. One of their clients during this period was a fledgeling cleaning business.
Terresa Rempel is the founder of Cold Creek Commercial Cleaning, a local cleaning company established in 2020. She recalls coming across the SE program through a WorkBC ad on an issue of the Herald’s weekly paper.
“I was struggling to find something that I can really live off of,” Rempel recalled. “I quickly realized that if I wanted to do better in Merritt, that I needed to have my own business.”
The SE program had helped Rempel to solidify her own business plan which before the assistance were only rough ideas in her mind.
“If anyone wants to start their own business, and they feel that they have something that they can offer, they can be successful,” she said. “The Self Employment program can definitely make that happen.”
WorkBC’s Self Employment program runs all year round. Applicants are invited to visit Merritt WorkBC and speak with a case manager to create a plan around any venture ideas. For more information, please call (250) 378-5151.